CEO Amanda LaGrange (center) chatted with Tech Dump technicians Dan Saba (left) and Alonzo Nelson (right) in 2016 as they worked on refurbishing equipment for sale. Star Tribune file photo.
Tech Dump, the 2011-founded electronics rebuilder and recycler, opened Wednesday an expanded headquarters and factory on Vandalia Street in St. Paul’s Midway district.
CEO Amanda LaGrange said the $3 million acquisition-and-redevelopment project will allow the nonprofit business to double its operation to up to 60,000 square feet. It’s moving from nearby leased space.
“Our new building positions us to be technology partners for enterprises of any size and scope,” said LaGrange, who left an accounting job at General Mills several years ago out of commitment to a business that trains those with “barriers to employment” and also reduces electronic waste. “We not only handle consumer electronics recycling, but we’re ready to manage businesses’ e-waste needs and supply refurbished technology. The larger space also helps us expand the work-readiness program.”
Tech Dump’s goal is to double revenue to $7 million and employment to 100 by 2022. About half of the employees are considered hard-to-employ because of chemical dependency or criminal backgrounds.
Tech Dump’s higher-value repair-and-refurbish division generates about 60 percent of the firm’s revenue from the sale of desktops, laptops, monitors, keyboards and other equipment through its Tech Discount business in St. Paul and Golden Valley. It also recycles electronics provided by business and consumers.
Mayor Melvin Carter, at the “wire cutting” with other dignitaries, welcomed Tech Dump’s expansion because it is a leader “committed to responsible e-waste management and helping people overcome employment barriers, grow and share their success in St. Paul.”
The Tech Dump building purchase-and-improvements were financed in part by a $130,000 grant from the city of St. Paul and low-interest loans from Sunrise Bank and Propel for Nonprofits.
Tech Dump also is part of the “Digital Fair Repair” consortium of business-and-environmental concerns asking the Minnesota Legislature to force electronics manufacturers to provide parts and repair manuals to product owners and independent repair shops. The advocates contend the huge manufacturers profit unduly by controlling their limited repair networks and often forcing owners to buy new when the life of equipment could be repaired more economically.